3 or 4 days cycling, 500-700km
Super exciting stages which are designed to provide fireworks for the pro race, but which give us amateurs an enjoyable, challenging and hugely rewarding Tour de France experience
Every year the Tour gives us three or four Alpine stages and they’re always spectacular. There are always a few big names; proper bucket list climbs that you’ll dine out on for years. But there are always just as many, quiet, beautiful, peaceful climbs where you’ll experience the mountains and the joy of perfect tarmac far away from the crowds.
Cycling back to back Tour stages in the mountains is special because you start to get an understanding of how it feels to ride the Tour. Not just racing/finishing one stage but repeating and travelling and seeing the stunning mountains day after day…
We’ll drive your bike there and back, we’ll feed you proper meals, we’ll make you proper coffee after 80km and thanks to the Tour, we’ll guarantee you some of the best cycling on the globe.
Dates and Stages TBC in October when the route is announced
Due end Jan
Due end Mar
|Fundraising Target||80% Fundraising
due end April
£660 or £495
(dependent on 4 or 5 nights)
Emily, Lead Cyclist:
“Chapeau to everyone who takes this on. You have to be prepared for some tough days here but presumably that’s why you’re thinking about it! Just make sure you read my training blogs each month!”
Sarah, Event Organiser:
“The cycling will be pretty tough but we’ll get you there. Our feedstops (with access to day bags) will be every 30-40km so you just break the day down into manageable sections. The friends and laughs will be as much the memories as the cycling”
Marianne, Alumni Cyclist:
“This is so much more than one Etape du Tour; this is a way to get to know France, and the Tour de France, better. If you want to race up the mountains, you won’t be the only one on strava – but I really enjoyed the mix: going for it up some of the big name climbs and chilling out and chatting up others.”
Le Loop is known for its camaraderie and inclusiveness and we strongly believe that there’s a Loop for everyone. We have no cut off times and cyclists will always be supported as far as safety and daylight hours allow. However, there is a speed and a level of training required for some of the longer Loops and the Grand Loop because we have limited space in our support vehicles and this event is not designed for cyclists who cannot complete full stages.
We need to be clear about how tough the Tour can be in order to help you pick the right challenge…
The Grand Loop…
You should be able to complete 200km stages with 2500m of climbing in under 10hrs (including stops). Assuming a total of 90 mins stopping, this equates to an average cycling speed of 23.5 km/h (14 m/h) or faster, day after day over relatively hilly terrain.
On a mountain stage of 180km with 4500m of climbing, we expect Grand Loopers to take between 8 and 12 hours, including stops. Assuming a total of 90 mins stopping, this equates to an average cycling speed of 17km/h (10.5 m/h) or faster.
If in any doubt, please get in touch to discuss. Or consider joining us for a shorter Loop with a view to completing the Grand Loop once you have tested yourself over 3 to 5 stages.
Whilst we have back up vehicles for injured or exhausted cyclists, this is intended as just that: a back-up plan should something go wrong. If there is a reason why you cannot complete one or two stages (injury, illness, one-off extreme fatigue), we will of course help you and offer you space in a support vehicle. But if you are not able to cycle full stages without medical or equivalent reason, we will have to ask you to take public transport or find alternative arrangements to travel between stage starts and finishes.
If in doubt, please see below for our more manageable Loop options and use that as training for the Grand Loop at some point in the future.
First Half, Second Half, Mountains Week…
As with the Grand Loop, these Loops are extremely testing. You should be able to complete full stages which will sometimes involve over 10hrs cycling and we would not expect you to need to take the Lite options in the Alps or Pyrenees.
For advice on average speeds, please see the guidelines above for the Grand Loop.
Alps, Pyrenees, Alps Lite, Pyrnees Lite…
The Tour de France mountain stages are extremely tough and completing back to back mountain stages is something that requires commitment and training. However, we are not all equal: in time available, experience, natural ability or desire for the toughest challenge. Which is why we have our Lite options…
If you sign up for the Alps or Pyrenees, you will be given the option to cycle the full stage or the shortened, ‘lite’ version. We usually take numbers the night before, giving you plenty of flexibility should you wish to go long or short.
Please, please avoid the temptation to view the Lite options as a weaker challenge: they are not! The extra transfers or short-cuts serve simply to open up the Tour de France to more people, encourage more diverse groups to join us, or offer an alternative to people who would like a really great day of Tour riding, rather than an overly-epic day which leaves them broken.
As a rough guide, a cyclist who can complete an undulating 100 km sportive in 5hrs or less in March and a hilly 100 km sportive in 5hrs or less in late April/early May will be well placed to join us in France.
Middle Mountains, Tour de France Adventure, Grand Depart…
The variety of the Tour de France route each year means that there can be quite a variation in the difficulty and length of stage within these options. Please see the Loop descriptions for more information and get in touch if in any doubt about your ability to take part.
Often the Mountains Lite Loops can be more manageable than the longer stages involved in other Loops. And sometimes morning transfers, hotel changes and other logistical variations can affect how difficult a Loop feels. So don’t be put off by the climbing involved in the mountains – with training and commitment, we believe that there really is a Loop for everyone and we’re always happy to discuss your options with you.
We will update this advice once the routes and stages for these Loops is known.
Included in all Loops
- Accommodation (Mostly twin share. Single supplements are available to buy in January)
- Food (3 meals and the best feedstops you’ve ever seen)
- Fully signed route, the stuff of legend
- Mechanical, medical and moral support
- Luggage Transfers
- Coach transfers to the next stage start where applicable
Not included in all Loops
- Travel to and from France (but we’ll give you advice on the best travel routes)
- Bike Transport (£30 each way if you want us to drive your bike there and back)
- Evening massage (£10 per massage)
- Beer/wine/dinner drinks!